Anyone who reads this blog relatively regularly knows that Jack is my little guy….ok little as in years not in height. He is just 3 and having learned the hard way how not to work a young horse ( sorry Cash you’re my guinea pig) in order to get the best out of them and not cause fights, I’ve made it my life goal to go slow with Jack.
By slow I mean I don’t really push our riding sessions over 30 minuets (at the moment) and he’s usually ridden no more then 3 times a week with mostly ground work, poles and some trails. I introduce him to new things but I don’t throw it at him. I let him think about it, look at it, sniff it and let him decide how best to go about it (like poles and small jumps, scary rocks or trees on the trail ect…) This works best out on the trail and I really do think it boosts a horses confidence, especially a young horse.
I don’t think we should ever expect blind obedience from any horse. Let them be curious, let them look and check it out. Whats the harm? Especially at Jacks age. He learns that new things aren’t bad and just because he hasn’t seen it before doesn’t mean its gonna eat him. It goes back to what i’ve previously said about making every effort a happy expirance as much as possible to get the desired results. Besides a horse with a personality is a blast to ride! (most of the time anyways….Cash I’m looking at you)
Those baby steps and patience is really paying off! He is still growing (Thank goodness his withers is finally catching up to his butt!) Now that he is finally leveling up a bit I think he’s finally coming around to working at speeds faster then slightly warmed molasses. He really does have a beautiful trot in there!
Today we did his first canter sets over poles on the lunge line in the arena. I always love to start something new on the lunge line or free in the area before I ask the beasties to do it with me on their back. That way they can figure out where to put their feet without worrying about my extra weight affecting their balance.
As Jack grows and build muscle I won’t be so worried about him working it out with me on him but for now he’s super careful with his feet and any shifting from him really slows him down and makes him uncertain and today I didn’t want him uncertain.
Todays lesson really helped Jack learn to shift his weight from his forehand to his haunches. Its really hard to canter big poles when your on the forehand!
He fumbled through it about twice each direction but that was about all it took before he was cantering through them like a pro!by the end of the session Jack was volunteering to go over the poles by himself without me even asking once I unclipped the lunge line and let him go on his own!
I must admit Jack has been a horse I’ve always been a bit iffy if he would ever really jump because he seems to never know what to do with his body but this last week he really has begun to show his potential. Once he finishes growing and puts on some muscle I think he will really blossom into an Eventer! He may never go to the upper levels (Hell I probably won’t either) but he will surely be fun!
It’s so easy to forget how short of a time I’ve really gotten to work with him. We are both finally to a point where we know each other and man is his personality blossoming. There are days where he doesn’t wanna do anything but try to eat every bit of grass (or weeds) near him and days where he’s got so much energy he just wants to go (and buck). He’s very much a baby and figuring him out has defiantly been hard sometimes purely because I already know Cash. Cash is my baby and I love him and know him and so I naturally gravitate towards him. I’m just so glad that recently Jack and I are FINALLY starting to click! It can be so hard to focus on Jack when I know I can just go have a blast with Cash but I’m glad I’ve been making myself do it because Jack is really starting to get fun to work with!
I took a quick video of him doing his canter poles. Sorry about it being shaky but trying to hold the lunge line, lunge whip and video with my phone at the same time is a bit tricky! I forgot my go pro hahah oops. I’ll try to remember for next time!